April 27, 2012

March C-17 and crew held hostage

Multiple base agencies aid in successful outcome

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Megan Crusher
452 AMW public affairs
Actors portrayed South Sudanese service members taking an offensive stance towards a U.S. military C-17 on their airfield, during filming for the Air Force’s Cultural and Language Center’s video series on cultural awareness, shot on base March 21. The footage completes the fourth and final video segment following Rwanda, Nigeria and Morocco, said Christine Frye, production coordinator, Combat Media. The videos are being developed to instruct deploying troops on how to handle situations involving cultural differences that may arise during deployments.

Eight South Sudanese soldiers fixed their weapons on a March C-17 Globemaster III during a tense standoff last month. The situation was resolved within hours, then the flight crew and soldiers attended a wrap-up party to discuss the day’s events.

The 452 Air Mobility Wing welcomed Combat Media, a film production company, aboard a March C-17 Globemaster III, to shoot a training video as part of the Air Force Cultural and Language Center’s Cultural Awareness program March 21.

The main scenario depicted actors portraying South Sudanese military members taking an offensive stance towards a U.S. military C-17 and crew on their airfield.

The training is important because deploying aircrews must know how to handle themselves in situations that require knowledge of foreign cultures. We do not want to unintentionally offend someone due to cultural misunderstandings. Knowing what to say and how to say it could be the difference between an international incident and making new friends.

This footage was the final sequence of events for the Air Force’s Cultural and Language Center’s video on South Sudan and is the fourth installment for Combat Media after completing videos on Rwanda, Nigeria and Morocco.

In support of the film shoot, a contingent of base agencies combined efforts to ensure filming went smoothly during the day-long production event on the flight line behind Base Operations.

The morning began when three production trucks and a generator vehicle arrived and were thoroughly searched by Security Forces before being staged on the flightline.

On scene, Master Sgt. Daniel McDow, Combat Arms, 452 Security Forces, conducted an inspection of the “dummy” weapons, which included rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s, that were to be used as props during the scenes. He confirmed the weapons were inert and could not be converted into actual weapons.

After the weapons were cleared, Maj. Ryan Van Scotter, pilot, 729th Airlift Squadron, provided a safety briefing and served as technical advisor for the aircrew actors and scenes shot aboard the C-17.

Staff Sgt. Mark Estorga, 452 Security Forces Raven, played an important role as technical advisor to the actors portraying Ravens, a flyaway security force team that travels with aircraft into hostile areas where the airfield is not secure. Estorga made sure the actors carried their weapons properly and presented themselves the way a trained Raven would under the circumstances.

Maintenance personnel also played a key role during the day’s events and were on-site throughout the entire production. Tech. Sgt. Jack Fisher, crew chief, 452 Maintenance Squadron was the go-to person for maintenance issues, such as powering up the aircraft, opening and closing the ramp and making sure the director had the visual characteristics he wanted.

452 AMW Public Affairs, 163rd RW Public Affairs and Combat Camera were on hand as escorts, technical advisors and points of contact for the production team.

“Thanks to all base organizations and their ability to work together the day went wonderfully and seamless,” said Christine Frye, production coordinator, Combat Media.

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U.S. Air Force photos by Darnell Gardner

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